Why did I install UCam Ultra Camera for Android? As usual I wasn’t happy with the stock camera. Don’t get me wrong, the stock camera took photos and videos and operated just fine, but it doesn’t give clear pictures. Often they are blurred or out of focus. This prompted me to look for some other camera that worked well and took good photos. I used UCam for a long time before I moved to Camera 360. Now I’m not going to review that camera because recently my protection software found out that it’s Malware… it was promptly removed. I haven’t lived with the camera I’m using enough to fill you in on what I think of it yet so, this is the first App in my reviews that I removed.
What does the App claim it can do?
Well, they claim that “More than 30,000,000 users are enjoying UCam, the most popular & powerful photographing software!“.
What about the other claims? They claim about 30 Main features including 30 software/hardware camera parameters, more than 60 capture scenarios, picture In Picture (PIP) capture mode, GIF maker and burst shot mode. It however doesn’t list all the 30 of the main features which in intriguing. There’s only 9 that they have listed and that also included the obligatory on-line sharing feature that is normally included in social media aware apps.
Reading the blurb you get the feeling that this app is all about the post picture events, what is going to happen once you take the shot.
Does the App REALLY do what it claims to do?
The claim of 30,000,000 is actually a big claim since Google reports that only 5,000,000 have installed the Android App. I’ve looked at the website and it’s pretty much all they offer so, this claim would have to be supported by the combined installs from Google and other app repositories. UCam is a Chinese app so I assume that the remaining 25,000,000 would be installed from the Chinese repository that I haven’t check so this claim might be OK.
For the rest I had to re-install the app to remember what it could do. I found out that it can take photos, and movies. It’s actually a pretty good app for the camera. It allows full resolution pictures which not all camera’s I’ve looked at allow you to do. It has a lot of effects available and allows you to apply these real-time, so the photo you shoot can have the effects applied as you see it on the screen. It has an editor which has all the standard features plus enables you to apply all those real-time effects to the original photo. There’s a burst mode which shoots low resolution (600×480) which is very rapid and often I take 10 shots before I realize it. You can create collages, Picture in Pictures or animated GIF’s on the fly
UCam has its own photo gallery so you don’t have to hop out to another one if you don’t want to. The gallery does allow you to create secret galleries so you don’t have to show up all your images, but unlike QuickPic you have to do it gallery at a time. UCam doesn’t allow you to default to your favorite gallery so if you don’t like it, tough. The main reason for the gallery inclusion is because it’s the link to the photo editor.
Once you take your photos and stored them in the UCam Gallery you can edit them. The editor is pretty good, I am impressed with its features. You are able to add frames, effects, text, speech bubbles, distortions, color and gamma corrections.
One of the really good features is that it will also do video. You might think that this is a given, but not every camera apps out there that also do video, and this one does.
I haven’t checked to see if you would need 10 apps or more to get all the functionality of UCam so I won’t really comment on that claim.
What do I like most about the App?
It’s a one stop shop. Almost everything you want in a camera is there and more. I like the burst mode, it would be good on sports days. The photo editor is a nice piece of kit too, I’d like it even more if I was instagraming or Facebooking. If I was doing that I also like that there’s instant links to share on 11 different share sites with a More button, I like More buttons.
What’s not to like about it?
The App is full of bloatware taking up a total of 28MB on the card and it didn’t really clear up my photos. I could take cool photos and put borders and funky effects on them, but I don’t really post these things up to social media sites normally. If this is what you like, then maybe this app is for you. Additionally I found out that it would have a lot of notifications for things which is why I removed it a long time ago. When I installed it for this review my Security software told me that this app has “Invasive Advertising”. You might be able to get this app under control on a rooted phone with an ad-Blocker and a firewall that prevents it from getting to the internet. Add to the mix Greenify and you might have a good piece of camera software on your phone.
What are the little niggles (What would make it perfect)?
I think that if there was the option to increase the resolution of the burst photos and the ability to exclude whole folders from the gallery like QuickPic I might even keep this app. Additionally a panoramic option would really make this app almost unbeatable.
Why did I decide to keep/remove it?
I removed this app because of bloat. On my old phone it was slow so if you have a low spec phone don’t bother with this in my opinion. On my current phone it ticks along nicely and I haven’t had any issues with the speed of the camera at all. The effects are applied quickly but I don’t need effects, I want a camera that takes good photos, and I want to use my gallery of choice.
The app requires a lot of permissions including access to your personal information like contacts, log data and SMS/MMS data. I assume that these permissions allow you to share your photos using MMS but I’m a bit wary of Chinese apps that look at that sort of information. This is another reason why I’m going to remove it after this review is published. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really good app, but I’m a bit cautious some times. In the meantime I’m going to look at another camera app, at the moment I’m checking out “A Better Camera“.
Would my wife use it?
She might, it’s easy enough to set up and use, but I think she’d get frustrated with the advertising.